YearofHandmade

An eclectic mix of handmade gifts, sewing inspiration, reviews, books, needlework, crafts, homeschooling, baking, and recipes

Best Berry Smoothies August 13, 2010

Filed under: August 2010,Recipes — The Threaded Nest @ 10:54 am
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Summer Time = Smoothie Time!

R. does not like to eat her fuits and veggies…

if I didn’t give birth to her I would swear she was not my child ;0)

However, she does LOVE smoothies, so its a great way to sneak those important nutrients in to her diet.

Ha, ha this picture was taken this morning and you would think it was winter here.

Just a chilly morning … fall is just around the corner … BIG sigh!

Anywho ~ here is her favorite smoothie recipe:

1 cup of vanilla yogurt

(If I don’t have homemade yogurt I use the Stoney Field Farm Organic with Cream on Top)

5-6 oz frozen fruit

(R. likes strawberries and blueberries)

1/2 cup PLAIN soymilk

(I sometimes use vanilla if I am using plain yogurt, although you could use regular milk too)

and a LARGE splash of juice

(orange juice for a more tangy smoothie or apple juice for a more sweet one)

If you have a banana you can throw in a half of one (end cut off because it is bitter)

and if I have some ground flax in the freezer or flax seed oil in the fridge I like to sneak in a bit of that too!

But my secret to the perfect smoothie is my Vitamix blender (more info HERE)!

I’ve had it for 5 years now and besides my Kitchen Aid stand mixer it is the most used kitchen appliance in our house.

R. is very particular about lumps or seeds in her food (she gets her texture aversions from me…ugh)

and when I use my Vitamix it comes out so smooth that she never complains.

It also breaks the whole food down to the cellular level so your body can more fully absorb the vital nutrients.

Really I can’t rave enough about it!

My bestie Molly convinced me to get one and it is one of the smartest purchases I’ve ever made (worth every penny!)

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe??? I’d LOVE to try it!

Happy smoothie making,

Colette

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Muffin Love! August 10, 2010

Filed under: August 2010,Recipes — The Threaded Nest @ 1:33 pm

Has it really been over a week since I last posted???

Sorry about that…we’ve just been having too much fun!

Finally had a cool enough day today to do some baking…

and whipped up some Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins!

Recipe from King Arthur Flour HERE

Love that this recipe uses half whole wheat flour to make them a bit more wholesome…

to compensate for all of the chocolaty goodness and raw sugar sprinkled on top ha ha ;0)

I followed the recipe but used one cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

and omitted the walnuts and cinnamon chips

and used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to add all of the ingrediants

except for the chocolate chips that I hand stirred in.

R. had the first bite and gave these muffins two thumbs up!

I just adore how she scrunches up her cute little nose when she takes a big bite…

and how she doesn’t even bother to wipe the chocolate off her mouth

before she goes in again for another bite =0)

(Oh and I have to point out her sparkly earrings because she was so brave this past weekend and got her ears pierced!)

Happy baking,

Colette

 

Saturday Morning Waffles March 27, 2010

Filed under: March 2010,Recipes — The Threaded Nest @ 10:20 am
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My Mom is all about the Belgium Waffle!  Whenever we go visit “Amma”, she takes us to the Original Pancake House (if you are anywhere in Southern California you have to go ~ Web site here) and orders their tasty waffles every time!  Now R. is convinced that anything you get “out” has to be better “in” homemade by Mom and Dad, and so the (really rather desperate) search to find (as to not crush her idealized dreams of us just yet) the perfect waffle began.

I tried many recipes from the Web and finally found one that we all love in my trusty old (the first cook book I ever owned!) Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book (here).  These waffles are everything a waffle should be ~ light and airy, slightly crispy on the outside, delicious, and best of all…EASY to make!

Many a Saturday morning you will find us in the Villa Villekulla Cafe (what R. has named our kitchen) cookin’ up some of these waffles!

RECIPE:

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 T. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

2 egg yolks

1 3/4 c. milk (we always use whole milk)

1/2 c. cooking oil

2 egg whites

In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl beat egg yolks slightly.  Beat in milk and oil.  Add egg yolk mixture to flour mixture all at once.  Stir just till combined but still slightly lumpy.

In a small bowl (I use my stand mixer) beat egg whites till stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).  Gently fold beated egg whites into flour and egg yolk mixture, leaving a few fluffs of egg white.  Do not overmix.

Pour 1 to 1 1/4 cups of batter onto grids of a preheated, lightly greased waffle baker.  Close lid quickly; do not open during baking.  bake according to manufacturer’s directions.  When done, use a fork to lift waffle off grid.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Makes 3 or 4 waffles.

Enjoy!

Happy cookin’,

Colette

 

Must Make Brownies! March 6, 2010

Filed under: March 2010,Recipes — The Threaded Nest @ 5:01 am
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The other afternoon, R. and I were frantically searching the pantry for something chocolaty delicious to eat, and unfortunately R. came across a box of brownie mix (D. must have bought this because I never make “boxed” brownies), and she begged me to make them (I think she was fascinated by the idea of boxed brownies, ha ha).  Well, it would have to suffice because the alternative was driving to the food co-op in town to buy some good dark chocolate (not having chocolate was not an option at this point) and I really didn’t feel like getting dressed in something proper(oh the benefits of homeschooling).

I got out the eggs and grabbed the oil only to discover that there was scarcely half of what was necessary to make them.  Oh darn, we would just have to find a recipe online that used butter and came across the recipe for “Best Cocoa Brownies” over here on epicurious.  It thought it was interesting how the butter sugar and cocoa are to be cooked together in a glass bowl over simmering water and I am sure I have never made brownies with just cocoa….I admit I was a bit nervous.  I didn’t have enough Scharffen Berger cocoa left (I bet this would have been divine!) so I used Hershey’s Cocoa instead and they turned out amazing!

I love that you line your baking pan with parchment paper hanging over the sides of the pan (why have I not done this before???) because they pulled right out and didn’t stick to the paper at all.  The recipe says to use a wooden spoon to stir in the vanilla, eggs, etc., but I was lazy and just used my stand mixer.  These brownies are very thin, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, and by far the most delicious (a moist rich chocolaty delight) brownies I have ever eaten!!

You must make these…I promise you will not be disappointed!!!

Happy baking,

Colette

 

Cardamom Vanilla Pound Cake March 2, 2010

Filed under: March 2010,Recipes — The Threaded Nest @ 5:52 am
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Yummmm!  This Cardamom Vanilla Pound cake from Epicurious (here) might just be the best cake I have ever made, and I have made  a lot of cakes!

I made it for some friends who came over for dinner Sunday night and almost everyone enjoyed two slices, including D. who does not like cake!  It was likened to an Indian doughnut…with a crisp outer and soft moist inner.  It was not too sweet and had just the slightest cardamom taste, not overpowering at all.  I used a dark non-stick coated bundt cake pan and reduced the baking time to 50 minutes and it was perfect.

Served it with fresh vanilla bean ice cream instead of the suggested whipped cream…divine!

Oh my…did we really eat half the cake???  Oh and as the recipe stated…it is even better the second day!

Happy baking,

Colette

 

Maple Nut Butter Granola February 13, 2010

Filed under: February 2010,Recipes — The Threaded Nest @ 2:40 pm
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I am having a hard time keeping up with demand for yogurt around here, ha ha, I am now making it daily!  D. and R. enjoy theirs for breakfast, while I enjoy mine as an afternoon snack (I have to say it is quite filling and holds me till dinner), but we are all loving it with the new granola I made (in fact, I am sure this granola is the reason for the doubling of our yogurt consumption…)

Don’t get me wrong, the French Chocolate Granola still rocks, but it is very rich and you kind of have to be in the mood for something sweet, where the new batch of Maple Butter Nut Granola from Cookus Interruptus (I actually found out about this granola from one of my favorite blogs Soule Mama) is perfect anytime.  We use plain homemade yogurt sweetened to taste with local maple syrup and topped with the Maple Nut Butter Granola ~ yummmy!

Today will be a busy sewing day for me, as I still have to finish my Valentine gifts…

Happy sewing,

Colette

 

Peaches n’ Yogurt February 3, 2010

A lot of interest has been expressed regarding making your own yogurt.  I have to admit I was terribly intimidated to try my hand at making my own yogurt, but really it is so easy if you have a yogurt maker.  I purchased the Cuisipro Donvier Electronic Yogurt Maker from Amazon (I would have preferred to purchase it locally, but it was not an option) along with the yogurt culture 2-pack (starter).  You don’t necessarily have to purchase the starter, you can just use one heaping tablespoons of plain commercial yogurt (and after you get your first batch you can just use one heaping tablespoon of your plain homemade to start it), but I wanted to ensure that I had a really good live starter because you never know if the yogurt was properly cared for once it left the factory.

Once you have your yogurt maker and starter, I highly recommend getting an 2 quart glass measuring cup for heating the milk in the microwave.  I did try heating it up per the directions in the machine’s manual on top of the stove, but I don’t think it heated quite evenly and I was so afraid the milk would burn on the bottom of the pan.  It just didn’t quite set the same as when I used the microwave (and it was easier too!)  You simply add 1 quart of milk (we are into whole foods so naturally we used local organic whole milk…did you know that many of the nutrients are stripped when reducing the fat?) to your glass measuring cup and microwave on high stirring occasionally until it is steaming 8-10 minutes (8 was perfect for me).  Pull it out and set the thermometer that comes with the machine into the measuring cup and wait (patiently…not that word again!) for the milk to cool to the temperature between the two lines marked on the thermometer.  Once at the desired temperature, add your starter to one of the jars from the machine and pour in some of the milk and stir, then pour it all into the glass measuring cup, stir again, pour evenly (about 3/4 full) into all 8 jars, and put the lids on .  Put the jars into the machine, put on the lid, and set your machine (10 hours is perfect for me) according to your texture preference in the machine manual and press start.  Once the timer goes off the jars need to go into the refrigerator right away and will be ready to eat in a few hours.  I find it easiest to make the yogurt in the morning and throw it into the fridge before bed so I can enjoy the next morning.

So far we have only made plain yogurt and flavored them individually.  You can make a whole batch of flavored before you put it into the jars (say for frozen yogurt) but I use it for cooking and instead of sour cream and it has been fun experimenting wih different flavors.  We have tried honey and vanilla, maple syrup, honey or maple syrup with the french chocolate granola, honey and pureed berries, but my most favorite was the peaches n’ yogurt I made yesterday.  I had a jar of peaches that needed to be eaten, so I added a few to my yogurt with some of their juice, a tiny bit of maple syrup, and sprinkled some cinnamon on top….yummm!  Strange (D. thought so)?  Not really, think of it as peach cobbler with cream minus the cobbler…thinking it would be really good with some plain granola in there too.  I was working on Literature with R. at the time and had only a quick second to grab a snack so this was thrown together in a bit of a hurry…next time I think I would cut the peaches up into bite-sized pieces.

I am a tad bit excited to try making cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise using the Cuisipro Donvier Yogurt Cheese Maker … I will let you know how that goes.

Happy yogurt making,

Colette